Want some great and easy ways to help get your children interested in helping out in the garden? We have some great ideas to get them out in the garden and away from the TV!
Gardening is a great way for children to learn about nature, animals and their environment. I always found that being in the garden with my mother was a way I also connected with her.
There is no right or wrong age for children to start gardening.
Toddlers are going to want to be with you while you are outside and will happily join in whatever you are working on.
They can help by having a little area to dig in or helping to push a wheelbarrow. You can also get them to help you water the plants and push in seedlings. There are lots of toddler sized gardening tools available as well to help encourage and to give them outside activities.
Make sure your children are safe in the garden as this will be a place they will want to spend time to play. If you can, set aside a small raised garden bed for them to grow their own vegetables and flowers.
Allow them to grow flowers such as Nasturtiums which are a gardeners dream flower. They are virtually care free once they are established and snails appear to be disinterested in them. They produce brightly coloured flowers.
In terms of vegetables, broad beans, which are one of the easiest vegetables for children to grow. The dwarf varieties can be grown in small gardens or even in containers.
Try painting a bright sign to show it is their garden and even try your hand at building a scarecrow! Creating small signs within the garden with plant names will help your child start to identify particular plants.
Being outside with children is a great time to enjoy the nature in your backyard. Point out the local Magpie family in the trees and point out the bees pollinating the flowers. Explain what everything is doing and how they interact together.
Set up a worm farm together to show your children where there food scraps go, and that it can turn into compost to help the plants grow more food.
Don’t forget to encourage kids to dig in the dirt and feel with their hands the soil. We all know kids love making mud pies too!
Don’t forget those young children too who are extremely active! With a herb garden children can smell and touch and taste a wide range of plants safely. They will be excited to explore with their senses!
Safety in the garden
Here are a few safety tips that will help make the garden safe for all children:
- Select the correct size tool.
- Keep sprays and fertilisers out of reach; garden organically whenever possible.
- Do not use chemicals.
- Provide safe equipment and tool storage.
- Secure fences and gates.
- Provide shade in summer with umbrellas or shade cloth.
- Encourage children to wear a hat, sunscreen, suitable clothing and gumboots.
- Be careful with buckets of water around very young children and toddlers.